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As Deadline Approaches, Wenham Tax Abatement Applications Drop to New Low

Last year was nearly a record high and this year appears to be headed toward a record low year for the number of abatement requests in Wenham.

The number of property owners applying for a tax abatement in Wenham appears to be on track to be at the lowest point in more than two decades.

It comes a year after nearly a record number of abatement requests were filed.

The deadline to submit an abatement request is Feb. 1. It must be dropped off at Town Hall or postmarked by that date. There is no fee.

As of Tuesday, 18 abatement requests had been filed at Wenham Town Hall, according to Principal Assessor Steve Gasperoni.

In a typical year, 40-50 abatement requests come in, Gasperoni said. In a revaluation year, the number often goes up to about 70 and last year there were more than 70 requests filed, he said.

This year, he expects fewer than 30 abatement requests to be filed.

"During the last couple of days we might get seven or eight," he said.

Since Gasperoni started in Wenham in 1997, the number of abatement filings have never been as low as this year, he said.

Under state law, the Board of Assessors has three months to go through all the filings and make a decision. Gasperoni said this year's filing will likely be able to be handled in two meetings.

"We're happy, let's put it that way," he said.

Gasperoni said anyone who thinks their property is not property valued should submit an abatement request. An abatement does not challenge your tax bill and instead challenges the assessed value of the property.

The first step is to make sure that the data on the property record card is correct, Gasperoni said. Anyone can stop in Town Hall or call to check that information.

In some cases, though, Gasperoni said that a property owner files an abatement because of a suspected error. Then a property inspection is conducted and other items that were not recorded are discovered and the assessment ends up going up.

While the deadline to file an abatement request applied to fiscal year 2013 taxes is Feb. 1, corrections and updates to property information can be done at any time and would apply to the calculation of the property value in future years.

Michelle Bailey January 31, 2013 at 11:51 AM
Here are some other ideas on Patch from last year that may help reduce your property tax bill: http://hamilton-wenham.patch.com/blog_posts/save-money-on-your-tax-bill

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